Monday, April 10, 2017

H for Magistra Hersend: Female Scientists Before Our Time


In 1248 Louis IX of France sailed for Egypt in 36 ships with an army of 15,000 that included 3000 knights and 5000 crossbowmen. It was the beginning of the Seventh Crusade. The goal was to establish a base in Egypt and eventually recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims. While in Egypt they fell under attack by the Egyptian army who over several years nearly wiped out the entire French army in the end (1254).

Magistra Hersend of Paris, a female surgeon traveling with the army, was one of King Louis’s royal surgeons. She also took care of the Queen and the camp civilians as they followed the army on land. As brutal and life threatening as the fighting must have been, Magistra survived the ordeal. In return for her service, the king gave her a pension for life of twelve pence a day (or one shilling). She also married the king's apothecary
 


Below: "The Wound Man" - A medieval anatomy illustration 
depicting all the injuries that a body might sustain. 
A chart Magistra might have used.



Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magistra_Hersend; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh_Crusadehttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/53/11/fc/5311fc1db595d1e88dfc6af7c363f67e.jpg https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Seventh_crusade.jpg


20 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon - fascinating information ... my immediate thought was - did they sail to Egypt ... or walk round - I guess ships were used much more than I'm thinking ... obviously not clearly enough so early in the morning! Amazing woman - and what a lovely poster - the face looks like a female ... Magistra Hersend - great idea .. thanks for sharing with us - cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/h-is-for-horse.html

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I clarified the text for 'tired eyes'. I was tired when I wrote it! Hmm...I think you're right about the poster.

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  2. Interesting life she must have led. A pension of 12 d wonder how much it would equivalent to at current price?The wound man looks, well, graphic! but I suppose it's meant to be.

    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. I'm glad she received a pension. I did a little research and from I could tell, it was a decent retirement income.

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  3. Next time I get a mosquito bite or a scratch from a shrub in the yard, I'll think of this chart and stop complaining.

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  4. Wow. Interesting job, especially for a woman. That chart is enlightening. At least there were a few places you couldn't get injured. I wonder who decided that? Thanks for sharing. Find me here. LINK

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    1. She was probably one of a kind. Hard to say. Thanks for visiting... and Welcome!

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  5. When I read your posts about these women I think that maybe they felt alone.
    I love the illustration of the human body.

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures
    H is for Harper.

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    1. I would love to see Hollywood fictionalize this for us...or maybe a writer out there???

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  6. Sharon, It's interesting to read of women in history who served as doctors or surgeons. Hersend may be the oldest woman I've read about who practiced medicine. Very impressive! Thanks for sharing and for visiting today's post, #AprilA2Z Art Sketching Through the Alphabet Letter "H" + #4M

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cathy. I've enjoyed your wonderful sketches. Actually, there are a number of "younger" women in this series.

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  7. That is quite a post for a woman. Good for her. I hope she had a good life after her service.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves

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    1. With the love of her life, the king's apothecary? We can sure hope! Thanks, Natasha.

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  8. Fascinating! I wonder where she did her training?

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    1. Thanks for checking back, Sue. This was all I could find on her!

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  9. She must have been successful to gain the respect of her King by earning a pension

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  10. The pension is impressive. Thanks, Birgit.

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